Uptown Chicago Resources

Marine Hospital

4141 N. Clarendon

Marine Hospital in Buena Park, Uptown. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

Vintage postcard of the Marine Hospital in Buena Park, Uptown. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

Marine Hospital in Buena Park, Uptown. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

Another postcard of the Marine Hospital in Buena Park, Uptown. Image courtesy CRCC collection.

In 1965, the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of the National Park Service issued a report on the Marine Hospital in Buena Park, which, at the time, was undergoing negotiations for a transfer to the State of Illinois with the hope that it would “be used as a children’s mental health clinic.”

The report included a detailed description of the building, which we have summarized here.

Built between 1869 and 1872, the hospital was one of the oldest buildings in Chicago. The exterior walls were of ivory-colored lemont stone. Ample porches were provided at the four sides of the three-story building, and the structure had an elegant mansard roof. It was in the center of a tranquil, park-like 12-acre site near the lake front.

The Marine Hospital proper, designed by an unknown architect, occupied a site that was once a street. The land was vacated by order of the Commissioners of Highway on October 31, 1855. Author A.T. Andreas, in his 1885 History of Chicago, described the founding of the hospital in “Lake View” (the area would not be known as Uptown for another 40 years):

“Next to the department of pensions, the United States Marine Hospital service is the most valuable and important of any of the government’s beneficiary institutions...The present hospital in the vicinity of Chicago is one of the largest, best appointed, and most capably managed in the country...

“The first Marine Hospital of Chicago was built upon the old parade ground of Fort Dearborn reservation, the ground being set apart for this purpose about the year 1848, the builidng and enclosure being completed March 15, 1858, and first occupied in May of that year.

“On September, 1867, the present hospital at Lake View was ordered...In 1868, Congress appointed a commission to select a site for a new hospital. An available site was secured at Lake View, on high ground overlooking the lake, and the government purchased ten acres here. Work on the new building began in 1869, and it was completed in 1872 at a cost of $4,452,000. Competent judges say the building could not now be reproduced for the same money. The structure comprises a central building and two wings, [each] four stories [with a] basement. The entire building is built of lemont stone, and handsome stone porches grace the various fronts. The main building, which is 350 x 60 feet in area, contains the offices, executive departments, dispensary, and administrative department. The wings each contain three wards, accomodating twenty patients to each ward, and they are thirty feet wide, interior measurement. The building was refitted in 1879 under the supervision of Dr. Truman W. Willer.”

An issue of American Architect from December 1900 reported the later addition of a boiler house, isolation ward, and laundry, all designed by James K. Taylor.

The Marine Hospital, the 1965 HABS report concluded, was in “good condition” but adjacent to a “slowly deteriorating neighborhood.” Several state and city agencies competed for the site. Plans for the reuse of the building included a junior college and a comprehensive outpatient clinic. In 1969, the public building commission approved to acquire the site of the Marine Hospital for a magnet elementary school, the first magnet school in Chicago. Today, the Disney Magnet School occupies the site where the Marine Hospital once stood.

Cultural Crossroads
About Us
Now Available
Upcoming Releases
Contact Us
Cultural Resources
Folklore, Fairy Tales, & Myths
Uptown Chicago Resources
Table of Contents
About This Collection
Submit Your Photos and Stories
Uptown Theatre
Uptown Community Portrait 2005
Read Petition
Sign Petition
Compass Rose Cultural Crossroads